Goodman dominates Jeff Award nominations, including 9 for 'The Who's Tommy' revival

Goodman Theatre dominated the Joseph Jefferson Award equity nominations for excellence in Chicago-area theater, with 32 nominations - nearly twice the number of Paramount Theatre's 18 nominations.

Goodman's record-breaking production of "The Who's Tommy" - the highest grossing show in the theater's 98-year history - earned nine nominations, second only to Teatro Vista's "The Dream King."

Playing to capacity crowds during its twice-extended run, "The Who's Tommy" received nominations for large musical, ensemble, director Des McAnuff (who also helmed 1993's Broadway premiere), music director Rick Fox, principal performer Ali Louis Bourzgui, sound designer Gareth Owen, lighting designer Amanda Zieve, choreographer Lorin Latarro and projection designer Peter Nigrini.

In his final season, former Goodman artistic director Robert Falls received directing nominations for "The Cherry Orchard" and "Swing State" both of which were nominated for large production of a play.

In a bittersweet coda, First Folio Theatre's swan song, "And Neither Have I Wings to Fly," received nominations for best play (mid-size), supporting performer Andrew Behling and set designer Angela Weber Miller. The Oak Brook theater's revival reflected the spirit of late co-founder and artistic director Alison C. Vesely and starred Vesely's husband and co-founder David Rice and their daughter Hayley Rice. It marked the end of the company's 26-year run.

First Folio also earned nominations for "Jeeves Intervenes" supporting performer Nick Sandys and designer Miller.

First Folio Theatre's swan song, "And Neither Have I Wings to Fly," earned 2022-2023 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for best mid-size production, for Angela Weber Miller's set and supporting actor Andrew Behling, right. Courtesy of First Folio Theatre

Teatro Vista's fanciful "The Dream King," by Highland Park's Marvin Quijada, received 10 nominations, the most of any equity production for the 2022-2023 season. Quijada, who starred in the show about a man who falls in love with a woman he meets in his dreams, received writing and lead performer nominations. The Jeff Committee also recognized directors Sandra Marquez and Alice da Cunha; set designer Joe Schermoly; costume designer Caitlin McLeod; sound designer Matthew Chapman; lighting designer Conchita Avitia; puppet designer Mike Oleon; and composers Chapman, Quijada, Elliot Taggart and Ethan T. Parcell. The production also earned a nomination for best mid-size play.

Three Paramount productions will compete in the best large musical category: "The Sound of Music" "Into the Woods" and "Fun Home." The latter received nominations for directors Jim Corti and Landree Fleming, principal performer Stephen Schellhardt, supporting performer Elizabeth Stenholt and music director Kory Danielson, who also earned a nomination for music directing "The Sound of Music."

Marriott and Drury Lane theaters each received 13 nominations, with Drury Lane earning nods for best large play for "Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express" and best large musical for "A Chorus Line."

Aurora's Paramount Theatre received 18 Jeff Award nominations, including five for Copley Theatre's "Fun Home" starring Milla Liss, front, Elizabeth Stenholt, middle, and Emilie Modaff. Stenholt received a supporting performer in a musical nomination. Courtesy of Liz Lauren

"Murder on the Orient Express" received nominations for Mikhail Fiksel and Jeffrey Levin's sound design and original music, supporting performer Janet Ulrich Brooks, projection designer Anthony Churchill and set designer Andrew Boyce.

"A Chorus Line" earned nods for ensemble, lighting designer Julie Mack and music director Carolyn Brady.

Among Marriott's nominations were acting nods for lead performers Alexander Gemignani ("Big Fish"), Heidi Kettenring ("Hello, Dolly!") and Kieran McCabe ("Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story") and for supporting performers Sean Fortunato ("Damn Yankees") and Alex Goodrich ("Hello, Dolly!").

For its exquisite revival of "Once," Writers Theatre received nominations for best large musical, ensemble, director Katie Spelman, lighting designer Yael Lubetzky and music director Matt Deitchman. Deitchman was also recognized for music direction recognition for Marriott's "Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story."

Local favorite Felicia P. Fields was nominated for performer in a revue for Writers' "Pearl's Rollin' With the Blues," and the Glencoe theater's coproduction "Manual Cinema's "A Christmas Carol" received nominations for Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter in the sound design and original music categories, as well as Drew Dir for puppet design and storyboards in the artistic specialization category.

Northlight Theatre's nine nominations included three for "Dear Jack, Dear Louise," for large play, lead performer Sarah Price and director Jessica Fisch.

The 55th annual equity Jeff Awards ceremony takes place Oct. 2, at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. For tickets, information and a complete list of nominees, see

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